Press "Enter" to skip to content

Shopping local more important now than ever

            We feel it’s our civic duty to remind people to shop local during the holidays  – but this year it seems more important than ever to support our hometown businesses. From residual effects of pandemic lockdowns, to supply chain problems, staffing issues, and the ever-growing and mammoth presence of online retail, our local businesses could use your patronage.

            It’s staggering to think about how editorializing in support of shopping local has changed so much. At one point not too long ago, encouraging people to shop local just meant encouraging them to shop at our local boutique instead of one in Ellijay or Woodstock, or to choose a mom-and-pop store over Walmart. But over the years as the monolith online retailers have taken hold, the editorial morphed. The focus shifted more to encouraging people to find gifts at local brick-and-mortar shops rather than online. Even a local Walmart was better than shopping online because dollars stayed here.          

            Let’s do some quick numbers to get a grip on how much things have changed. According to MarketWatch.com, Amazon’s 5-year revenue history is:

•2016 – $135.99 billion

•2017 – $177.87 billion (up 30.8 percent over 2016)

•2018 – $232.89 billion (up 30.93 percent over 2017)

•2019 – $280.52 billion (up 20.45 percent over 2018)

•2020 – $386.06 billion (up 37.62 percent over 2019)

            From 2016 to 2020, Amazon sales are up a staggering 184 percent (and up 703 percent over 2011’s $48.08 billion in sales) – and indictors are e-commerce and online shopping aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Those numbers, of course, also don’t include all the online sales made outside of Amazon.

            We get it. Shopping online is convenient and sometimes less expensive, and we do it too. And sometimes the items we want just aren’t sold in Pickens County. Shopping locally requires a real desire to support your community. It requires taking the time and effort to see if a local store has the item you want before clicking that “order” button online. It requires being willing to choose items that are sold here, and maybe foregoing the ones that aren’t.

            Here are a few reminders of why shopping locally is important: It stimulates the local economy, including sales tax revenues that go to support important local capital improvement projects (our courthouse, recent improvements to school facilities, road resurfacing, upcoming park renovations, and sidewalk repairs are all supported by SPLOST money); business owners invest in our local community in return by doing things like supporting our non-profits and sponsoring kids’ sports teams; it creates the unique character of a community; you get a personal touch you don’t online; jobs are created, and other reasons.

            This season shopping locally is also a way to mitigate supply chain and shipping issues that are impacting e-commerce – by shopping local you walk out of the store with item in hand and don’t have to worry about delays or your package not arriving in time. You can also give the gift of a gift card for a nice dinner, a haircut, a pedicure to a local business, or buy a unique item made my a local artisan. This year the Holiday Market in Jasper is returning with over 100 booths of arts, crafts, home décor, fashion, food, and more on November 19th and 20th at Chattahoochee Tech, with a preview night November 19th from 4:30  to 8 p.m. (tickets are $15 and include hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and entertainment). Shopping is Saturday 9 to 4.

            Retailers, restaurants, service and other businesses have had to get creative over the last two years to stay afloat – and unfortunately some were not able to navigate the storm and went under. We need our local businesses, so let’s support them this holiday shopping season –  and be understanding of the issues they are struggling with while we do it.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Website by NewsintheCloud.com - Copyright 2021